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Row over survey in Muslim area; Central probe sought

The probe by Intelligence wing of Kerala police about the survey conducted in a Muslim locality in the state by a private firm has found that it was done for an American research agency apparently to prod the political leanings of the community.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2010 12:28 IST

The probe by Intelligence wing of Kerala police about the survey conducted in a Muslim locality in the state by a private firm has found that it was done for an American research agency apparently to prod the political leanings of the community.

Police have also got information that the survey was conducted in 20 other states with specific questionnaires to Muslims. The survey was done by Delhi-based TNS for Princeton Survey Research Associates International, US, sources said.

According to Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the state had already referred the matter to the Centre seeking a probe by central agencies.

A detailed investigation was required into the matter as the issue had national and international dimensions, the sources said.

The survey in the state was done in Karimadom colony, an area having predominant Muslim population, on October 2 last. Questions such as `Do you like Osama bin Laden' and `Do you wear burqa' were included in the survey which had sought answers to 98 queries.

As some local people raised doubts about the survey by a five-member team, the police was informed and the team members were taken into custody. On interrorgation, they told the police that the Kochi office of TNS (Taylor Nelson Sofres-India) had assigned them to carry out the survey.

The agency, which reportedly had plans to conduct similar surveys in Kochi and other places, dropped the move after the survey in the capital was disrupted with the intervention of the police, the sources said.

Meanwhile, Kerala Muslim Jama-at Council has alleged that the spy agencies of United States and Israel were behind the survey. Police was taking an indifferent attitude towards finding out the source of the survey, Council General Secretary A Pookunhu said in a statement here.

CPI's youth outfit AIYF also demanded a thorough probe into the incident.